Lifestyle and Blood Pressure Targets for Diabetics

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder mainly involve metabolism of carbohydrates due to relative (type 2 diabetes) or absolute (type 1 diabetes) insulin deficiency. Metabolic problems of other nutrients (fats and proteins) also occur in diabetes.

Dietary management along with lifestyle modification is as important as treating with medications in case of diabetes. It is therefore important to set target or goals for optimal management of diabetes. Optimal management of diabetes (blood sugar level within normal range) is important for preventing or delaying the complications of diabetes (such as retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, diabetic foot etc.).

Lifestyle targets for diabetics:

Exercise of 30 minutes to 1 hour a day. Moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 150 minutes a week, spread over minimum five days a week should be targeted by diabetics.

You can buy pedometer and monitor your number of footsteps you take in a day. Target it to be more than 10,000 per day, which indicate that you are moderately active physically.

Control of body weight, if you are obese (BMI more than 30) or overweight (BMI 25.1 to 30), preferably BMI (Body Mass Index) should be below 25 (18 to 25).

Alcohol intake should be moderate by diabetics. Alcohol consumption by diabetics should not be more than two drinks a day.

Balanced diet with minimal animal fats (containing saturated fats), low salt intake, fresh vegetables (more of leafy vegetables such as spinach, amaranth) with high fiber content, more fish (rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, sardine and other fishes), at least 2-3 times a week. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily, several servings per meal.

Reduce intake of foods that have high cholesterol content such as red meat, animal fats etc. Avoid foods that have trans fat.

Blood pressure target for diabetics:

The targeted blood pressure for diabetics should be 120/80 mmHg or less (preferably 115/75 mmHg). Although hypertension is 140/90 mmHg or more, complications of high blood pressure starts at blood pressure much below, what is considered hypertension (i.e. 140/90 mmHg or more). So target blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg or less.

Monitor blood pressure at home. Check blood pressure several times a day at home and keep record for reference by your treating physician.

If there is protein in urine such as albuminuria, (that is in presence of nephropathy) blood pressure should be targeted at 115/75 mmHg or less.

Ideally, home monitored blood pressure should give lower results than blood pressure checked at clinic of a doctor or at hospital.

Anxiety and other emotional conditions increase blood pressure; try to avoid them control blood pressure.

Prevention is certainly better than cure. In case of diabetes it is important to prevent complications of diabetes, because there is no cure once complications of diabetes starts. We can only delay or prevent complications in case of diabetes. So, better delay (or prevent if possible) the inevitable for as long as possible.

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